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" VIOLA, and the service she had done me, occupied my thoughts till we met again. I took care to be at the garden gate by the appointed time; in a few minutes it was opened, and Viola appeared. Follow me, signor,' (said she, in a low tone ;) I did so, and she led me to an arbour, which we entered.
"Here we are safe for some time, (cried she). Mindez, I know, has not sent to you; he thinks that the delay of a few days will make you more anxi
ous for the money; he waits, therefore, to see if you will send to him.'
"Thanks to you, my kind Viola (said I), his schemes will fail; but I am all impatience to know your story.
"It is briefly this, signor (replied she). I am an orphan, and have no friend but the lady whom you saw, and who is my aunt. Under her protection I lived happily, from the time I lost my parents till about a year back, when her husband, the Signor Velloni, happened to have an affair of honour with the son of one of the most powerful of our Neapolitan nobles'; he had the misfortune to kill his antagonist, and in consequence was obliged to fly. His property was confiscated; but my aunt's friends procured her a small pension, and we retired to the cottage where you saw us. Signora Velloni had reason to suppose that in time her husband's fortune would be restored, and during his exile she sent him the greatest part of her mension. My little portion I had re
peatedly begged her to use, but this she declined doing, and no entreaties could prevail upon her to accept of it. Passionately fond of his wife, the signor languished for her society, and in order to raise the means of going to him, my aunt applied to Mendez for money; he at first did not seem willing to accommodate her, but in a little time he consented to let her have the sum she wanted; and in a few days after he had agreed to do so, he came one morning with the greatest satisfaction in his
"I am happy to tell you (cried he to my aunt), that there is scarcely a doubt, if the business is properly followed up, that the Signor Velloni will have his fortune restored. The Countess Strozzi has promised me to use all her influence (which is very considerable) to effect this point; but it would be necessary, signora, for you to pay particular attention to the countess, and to see her often.'
"Then I must renounce my project of going to my husband (answered she); but that will be a small sacrifice, if I can, by doing so, obtain for him that fortune, which we thought for ever forfeited. When, sir, can you let me have the money? I will remit it, and explain to the signor my reasons for not being myself the bearer of it.'
"You should have had it before, signora (cried he), but that I had much to pay. I shall, however, get it for you in a very few days.'
"With this promise she was obliged to be content. The next day an express arrived from my uncle; he was dangerously ill. We sent for Mendez, and my aunt told him the circumstance.
If you can raise me the money immediately (cried she), it will be of material service to me; but if not, I must go without it. No consideration shall keep me from my husband.'
"I will bring it to you this evening,' (cried he); and so indeed he did. 'I
have thought of a means, signora (said he, as he entered), that may serve the signor as effectually as your stopping here. Nothing can be done with the Countess Strozzi without flattery and attention; I know her influence, and I know that she is disposed to exert it. Suppose you leave the Signora Viola at Naples. She can see the countess often, and→→→→
"But under what protection can I leave her (cried my aunt)? my friends, or rather those who called themselves my friends, behaved with such unfeeling coldness at the time of the signor's flight, that I know not any of them whom I would ask to take charge of my niece; I can, it is true, place her in a convent, but
"I could name an asylum secure, but humble (said Mendez), if you would condescend to accept it for the signora till your return; and one where she would have frequent access to the countess, I mean my house. I have a